Got fresh green beans? Here are all the very best green bean recipes to use them, from a quick side dish with lemon to the traditional creamy casserole.
There’s nothing like fresh green beans: the satisfying crunch and brilliant green color brings life to any meal! While there are lots of recipes that use soggy, frozen beans: the best green bean recipes are anything but that! Here’s a list of the best ways to use fresh green beans. There’s our easiest 10-minute lemon green beans, the best way to use them as a side dish. But there are lots of main dish ideas too, from the classic French Nicoise salad to Italian vegetable soup. Ready to get to the recipes?
How to trim green beans…fast!
Now, before we start: the biggest hurdle to using fresh green beans in recipes is trimming them! If you’re not careful, you can spend 10 minutes trimming off the ends of a bunch of green beans: wasting lots of prep time in the process. Here at A Couple Cooks, Alex and I found a way to trim green beans that’s quick and easy: you should be able to do this in 3 minutes, tops! Here’s our method: How to Trim Green Beans…Fast!
First up in our fresh green bean recipes: our 10-minute lemon green beans! These beans are a stunning side dish that couldn't be easier to whip up. Just trim the green beans, then steam them on the stovetop until bright green and tender. Mix them with a little olive oil and lemon, and they're a tangy counterpoint to any meal. You can also make them in an Instant Pot.
This one really is the best green bean casserole: because it's a fresh spin made all from scratch! It’s got crisp tender green beans and real mushrooms. The creamy sauce coats each of the beans, but isn’t gloppy. And it’s got a new take on the traditional fried onion topping: using crushed potato chips! You can make it either on the stovetop or in an Instant Pot.
Turns out, the grill is the ideal way to cook this green summer vegetable. Take a bite and these green beans are tender, with a burst of sweet, tangy, salty and charred flavor. Honestly, they’re just as addicting as French fries! They’re now a part of our repertoire: and we hope you’ll add them to yours, too.
Another favorite in our green bean recipes: roasted green beans! These fresh green beans are roasted in a hot oven until tender, then spritzed with fresh lemon juice to bring a tang. They're topped with hazelnuts for a nutty crunch, and make for a sophisticated side dish!
Why not throw green beans into potato salad? This summery salad is a beautiful combination of boiled red potatoes, crunchy bright green beans, and fresh dill. They’re dressed with a combination of sherry vinegar, olive oil, and shallot, which mesh together into an understated but irresistible meld of flavors.
Green bean recipes aren't just for side dishes! Here's a legendary main dish where green beans have a starring role: classic Nicoise salad. This classic French composed salad features blanched green beans on a bed of greens with olives, tomatoes, tuna, hard boiled eggs, potatoes, and a tangy lemon vinaigrette. Because it’s packed with protein, it’s filling and incredibly satisfying.
Pasta with green beans? Yes, this pesto pasta with green beans and potatoes is a classic Italian way to serve pasta. It might be unexpected, but the green beans covered in savory basil pesto is extremely satisfying. Serve it as a tasty vegetarian main dish or summer side.
Here's another green bean recipe that's a main dish: Italian soup! This cozy soup is similar to a minestrone, featuring a mix of savory vegetables like tomatoes, garbanzo beans, and green beans. Made with fresh basil, it's mixed with doughy gnocchi, dumpling-like pasta that makes it hearty and satisfying.
Green beans are a main component in this quinoa bibimbap bowl! Bibimbap is a Korean rice bowl full of pickled vegetables, savory sauce, and a runny egg, all stirred together into delicious savory goodness. This quinoa bowl is an interpretation of the original flavors, using green beans, quick pickled carrots and radishes, and topping it all off with a sauce made with gochujang, Korean chili paste.
And last but not least in our green bean recipes: summer vegetable salad! This one features blanched green beans and yellow wax beans, if you can find them! It's all about celebrating summer produce, with brightly colored cherry tomatoes and corn. Top it off with a creamy sesame ranch dressing and prepare to be amazed.
Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.
Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.